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New clip puts 'self-defence' claims in doubt

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New clip puts 'self-defence' claims in doubt
08:44 CET+01:00
The three Sweden Democrats who armed themselves with iron pipes in "self-defence" following a scuffle found the incident funny rather than frightening, a previously unpublished video clip of the incident reveals.

The Sweden Democrats have previously said the were acting to defend themselves from a drunken man with whom they had been arguing after a night out drinking in 2010.

“They felt threatened by a person tied to organized crime,” said party head Jimmie Åkesson to daily Svenska Dagbladet on Thursday, adding that this could be seen in the footage.

But new footage from the incident, published on Friday by the Expressen newspaper, reveals the politicians found the incident humourous, rather than frightening.

The unfolding scandal stems from a video clip displaying bad behaviour by leading party members Kent Ekeroth, Erik Almqvist and Christian Westling, which was first published by Expressen at the beginning of the week.

In the footage, shot by Ekeroth, the three are seen scuffling with an inebriated man, using racist and sexist slurs and arming themselves with iron pipes.

Ekeroth, who was the party spokesman on justice policy, said in an interview with news agency TT on Thursday after announcing he will take a "break" from his responsibilities, that he had only picked up the iron pipe in self-defence, arguing he felt threatened by the drunken man.

"I only held it for a few seconds and then I dropped it," he told TT.

The man, had hinted to the three politicians that he had connections to OG, or Original Gangsters, a known criminal gang,

“What are you doing? Are you pushing a girl? Do you know what OG does with people like that?” the man is heard saying in the film.

Faced with this, the three men claim they felt threatened enough to arm themselves with iron pipes they found in a nearby street.

However, the new footage released on Friday shows the three men laughing about the inebriated man's alleged criminal connections.

The sequence was shot just after the man had been detained by police. In the clip, the three Sweden Democrats can be heard laughing about the man's claims.

“He has nothing to do with them. He just wanted to act cool and say that he had,” Almqvist says in the clip.

The scandal, dubbed SD-Gate by some in the press, has so far caused economic policy spokesman Almqvist to leave his post and justice policy spokesman Ekeroth to take a "break" and continues to dominate the Swedish media.

In addition, the incident has exposed a rift within the party, with some factions criticizing the way party leader Jimmie Åkesson has handled the crisis, with some experts arguing the incident could cause the party to split.

TT/The Local/rm

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